Thoudam’s hat-trick takes Sporting Goa into Durand semis

September 1st, 2008 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) Riding on Thoudam Singh’s hat-trick, Sporting Clube de Goa moved into the semi-finals of the Durand Cup along with JCT, who topped Pool II after the last round of matches in the quarter-final league here Monday.Goan Club won 3-0 against Tata Football Academy (TFA) while JCT had to work hard for their solitary goal victory over Air-India, Baldeep Singh being the scorer, at the Ambedkar Stadium.

Forward Thoudam’s triple-strike (39th, 57th, 67th) was undoubtedly the highlight on a day when the two teams indulged in a lot of mispassing.

TFA boys could not get anywhere near scoring range as they seemed to have forgotten the basics of the game. With their goal never in danger, the Goans could plan their moves better.

Thoudam opened the scoring in the 39th minute making use of a long cross by Steven Fernandes. After the goal, Sporting Clube took things a little easy and if only TFA had put some pressure they could have made a match of it.

To add to their misery, TFA’s passes went awry, failing to find the right man, making things a lot easier for the Goans.

Sporting Clube was a much improved side in the second half and an unmarked Thoudam deftly chipped the ball past a hapless goalkeeper Jagroop Singh, who saw the ball rolling across the line.

Thoudam had little difficulty in finding passage through the TFA defence. TFA manager Ranjan Chowdhury’s cries to organise the defence fell on deaf ears. They failed to mark Thoudam yet again and the diminutive striker quietly sneaked into the box to strike, latching on to a perfect Harmanjot Khabra pass, to make three in a row.

Sporting Clube could have won by a bigger margin had it not been the recklessness of Thoudam and captain Micky Fernandes. Once Thoudam had only Jagroop to beat, but shot wide and a little leater Fernandes forgot that football is a team game as tried to dribble past a host of defenders only to see his attempt

TFA’s only clear chance came in the dying minutes of the game when striker Niroshon Mani’s left-footer skimmed the bar and went over.

JCT, who were already in the semis, had a tough time against a gritty Air-India. JCT coach Sukhwinder Singh rested his main forward Brazilian Eduardo Da Silva Escobar keeping in view the semi-finals and it was left to Baldeep to produce the winner, a pile driver at that.

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